"The pandemic is a relentless race against Mother Nature. Waves of infection took millions of lives, and only highly effective vaccines prevented even more deaths. Now, the coronavirus is speeding up once again, mutating, evading immunity and still on the march. The arrival of subvariant BA.5 should be a reminder that the finish line in this race is nowhere to be seen.
What’s BA.5? This is the latest subvariant of omicron, which stormed the planet late last year and caused a huge wave of infection. As of now, BA.5 and a closely related variant, BA.4, account for about 70 percent of all infections in the United States, according to estimates by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, based in part on modeling. These two newcomers are easing out an earlier variant, BA.2."
"In September 2020, I knew lots of kids who went back to school full-time. And others who didn’t return to a normal, in-person schedule until April 2021.Some schools allowed parents to bring kids into classrooms. Others prohibited it. Weekly testing was required at some schools, but not all.Which is pretty much how the pandemic has been for parents and kids: filled with uncertainty and unpredictability.Even now, after two and a half years, rules around preschool and school feel like a random pastiche that varies wildly from town to town and school to school. Is quarantine required if you’re exposed to COVID? Do you need to test? Can extracurriculars proceed normally?"
|DAVID L. RYAN/GLOBE STAFF|